NCP’s Azam Pansare joins BJP ahead of Pune area civic polls

With less than a month to go for the civic polls, the Nationalist Congress Party’s stronghold in Pimpri-Chinchwad is under threat, following a spate of defections to the Bharatiya Janata Party. In the latest setback, Azam Pansare, former Mayor of Pimpri-Chinchwad, joined the BJP late Sunday night.

Mr. Pansare met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai and entered the BJP minutes before midnight. The reason, sources say, is that he was miffed at not being given a ticket in the Legislative Council polls in November 2016.

The former Mayor, though perceived as loyal to NCP chief Sharad Pawar, has jumped ship around election time before: he quit the NCP to join the Congress in February 2014, ahead of the Lok Sabha polls that year, allegedly because his rival, Laxman Jagtap, was given the ticket from the Maval constituency that he wanted.

In October, Mr. Pansare re-entered the NCP at a public function in the presence of Mr. Pawar. Incidentally, Mr. Jagtap defected to the BJP later in 2014. The NCP controls both the cash-rich municipal corporations of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.

In the 2012 civic polls, the party won a landslide in the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), securing 83 seats to the BJP’s three seats, and in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) polls, the NCP won 51 seats, while the BJP secured only 26 seats. Since the national and State elections in 2014, the party has faced defections by heavyweights and those lower in the pecking order.

In October last year, legislator Mahesh Landge defected to the BJP. In November, five of the NCP’s sitting corporators in the PCMC joined the BJP too, and in December, Yashwant Bhosale, considered to be the right-hand man of NCP leader Ajit Pawar, followed suit.

For the BJP, having Mr. Jagtap, MLA from Chinchwad, and Mr. Landge, MLA from Bhosari, and now Mr. Pansare in their ranks, gives them a definite edge in the PCMC polls.

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Printable version | Sep 16, 2021 10:13:16 AM |

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